Is Infant Baptism a required belief/practice?

Discussion in 'Sacraments and Holy Orders' started by BibleHoarder, Nov 28, 2017.

  1. BibleHoarder

    BibleHoarder Active Member

    Posts:
    299
    Likes Received:
    105
    Country:
    USA
    Religion:
    Christian
    Is paedobaptism a required belief and practice by all within the Anglican church? Can a person disagree with it and still be on good terms with the church without causing any theological friction?
     
  2. PotterMcKinney

    PotterMcKinney Active Member Typist Anglican

    Posts:
    316
    Likes Received:
    190
    Country:
    USA
    Religion:
    PECUSA
    You can dissent, I suppose, but know that it won't change and Anglicanism will always hold infant baptism as a belief. It is in the 39 Articles and the BCP. Nobody is going to force it upon you, I imagine, but if you had kids, were an active member of the Church, and wouldn't baptize them, then I imagine it would definitely be seen as very strange and would probably be questioned.
     
  3. Shane R

    Shane R Active Member

    Posts:
    196
    Likes Received:
    195
    Country:
    USA
    Religion:
    Anglican
    Is pedobaptism a required belief? If one is being honest with the 39 Articles: yes. If one is an AngloCatholic who does not overly concern oneself with the Articles: yes. In short, this is one of the areas where the Evangelical and AngloCatholic parties should have agreement. The Articles support it, as IX and XXVII are complementary (and one might make a case using XXV as secondary evidence). The practice is well-attested in history.

    In short, any clergyman who accepted ordination with qualms about this practice should renounce their holy orders and join a thoroughly Protestant sect. I prepared a class on Holy Baptism 4-5 years ago, while I was still in the LCMS. It was comprehensive covering the Biblical passages, Patristic sources, and the Lutheran Confessions. If I teach it again, I will retain 5 of the 6 lessons. The only change I should make is to substitute the Anglican formularies for the Lutheran Confessions -and even the Large Catechism of Martin Luther has its redeeming qualities on this question. If you wish, I will supply the series to you by PM.
     
    Botolph and PotterMcKinney like this.
  4. BibleHoarder

    BibleHoarder Active Member

    Posts:
    299
    Likes Received:
    105
    Country:
    USA
    Religion:
    Christian
    This is one of the things that has kept me from joining Anglicanism, which is why I am more Baptist, though I am unsure about identifying myself as Baptist because Baptists tend to represent a kind of sensationalist fundamentalism despite being mostly conservative and orthodox. Also, some other Anglican practices and views make me very uncomfortable, like being very lax about tolerating some more Roman Catholic dogmas that disturb me. There is a good point about this, though: why are the dissenters of paedobaptism so scarce in early accounts of the church? They do talk of adult baptism but don't seem to really hint at any controversy with paedobaptism and Tertullian seems to be cautioning about it because of unbelieving parents rather than as a whole. I was reading a baptist forum and they gave a very conspiratorial view that the enemies of Romanism (I know that not all the ECF were Roman Catholics as we understood it now) had their accounts destroyed by the Church to squash them. But this is another case of claiming that the enemy usurped them and that the Holy Spirit failed to preserve their accounts and give them an active voice in the matter if they were being backed by the word of God. I also hear that Martin Luther taught paedobaptism and basically did not reject all Catholic traditions as long as they were God-honoring and did not violate the justification by faith. But, for the most part, I am not sure about it and choose to believe in/practice believer's baptism for now because that's where my conscience lies. I don't want to cause any friction with the Anglican body over this. In the end, it does not matter in a sense because both Anglicans and Baptists believe in a kind of baptism that never assures or forefeits salvation, from what I understand.
     
  5. anglican74

    anglican74 Well-Known Member Anglican

    Posts:
    910
    Likes Received:
    676
    Country:
    USA
    Religion:
    Anglican (ACNA)
    No one does, in any denomination, as far as I know


    My main objection to believer baptism is that it makes our choice be this one fantastic moment in which we just 'choose' everything.. And the issue is that humanity just doesn't work like that, in that our single choices mean absolutely nothing and matter essentially little... Human nature is mired in inconstancy and can only advance through deep and long spiritual formation, in which no one moment may stand out, but the WHOLE indicates a regenerate individual

    For this reason our Lord never demanded one single choice from everyone, and he understood that even if we made 'the choice' as St. Peter did, we would fail, on our own
     
    Tiffy and PotterMcKinney like this.
  6. Botolph

    Botolph Well-Known Member

    Posts:
    728
    Likes Received:
    926
    Country:
    Australia
    Religion:
    Anglican
    XXVII. OF BAPTISM
    Baptism is not only a sign of profession, and mark of difference, whereby Christian men are discerned from others that be not christened, but it is also a sign of Regeneration or new Birth, whereby, as by an instrument, they that receive Baptism rightly are grafted into the Church; the promises of forgiveness of sin, and of our adoption to be the sons of God by the Holy Ghost, are visibly signed and sealed; Faith is confirmed, and Grace increased by virtue of prayer unto God. The Baptism of young Children is in any wise to be retained in the Church, as most agreeable with the institution of Christ.​

    I think one of the challenges for us in the Western post modern world is that we look at Baptism and want to look at it from the point of view of what we do in the Sacrament, whereas I think what the 39 Articles ask us to do is to think about what God does in Baptism.

    Baptism
    • is a sign of profession
    • is a mark of difference
    • is a sign of regeneration
    • grafts us into the Church
    • signs and seals the promises of forgiveness of sin
    • signs and seals our adoption as children of God
    • confirms Faith
    • increases Grace by virtue of prayer
    Whilst we continue to view Baptism from the point of view of 'what we do' we will continue to undervalue it, and underestimate God.
     
    Tiffy and JoeLaughon like this.
  7. BibleHoarder

    BibleHoarder Active Member

    Posts:
    299
    Likes Received:
    105
    Country:
    USA
    Religion:
    Christian
    I've heard that before, but why did baptism get conflated with child dedication when the latter is more explicitly stated in scripture than infant baptism?
     
  8. Botolph

    Botolph Well-Known Member

    Posts:
    728
    Likes Received:
    926
    Country:
    Australia
    Religion:
    Anglican
    I am not sure that that is the right question.

    I suspect child dedication as currently practiced is a late practice. The Eastern Churches as I understand baptise (quite literally plunge) and chrismate infants. I believe this has been the practice in Orthodoxy, given their pathological disdain for the neuvo, since early days.

    Acts 16:25-34 seems to suggest that it was Apostolic practice. Dedication - distinct from baptism - seems to be a post reformation practice.

    I accept, given you stance and background here you may not regard Acts 16 as explicit enough.
     
  9. Aidan

    Aidan Well-Known Member

    Posts:
    953
    Likes Received:
    567
    Country:
    N Ireland
    Religion:
    Traditional RomanCatholic
    Why wait until adulthood to receive such grace when said Grace can be bestowed to a neonate?
     
    JoeLaughon and Anglican04 like this.
  10. PotterMcKinney

    PotterMcKinney Active Member Typist Anglican

    Posts:
    316
    Likes Received:
    190
    Country:
    USA
    Religion:
    PECUSA
    What is, in your eyes, the point of baptism? Why do we do it, and what, if anything, does it do?
     
  11. Tuxedo America

    Tuxedo America Member

    Posts:
    97
    Likes Received:
    78
    Country:
    United States
    Religion:
    Latin Rite Catholic
    The only "problem" I see with infant baptism (from a Roman Catholic perspective) is that infants haven't committed personal sin. So, since the temporal punishments for forgiven sins are considered "erased" at baptism (if your sins resulted in a temporal punishment of "two months" in purgatory, baptism takes these away), the infant doesn't really benefit from this, whereas an adult certainly would.

    So, my "issue" with infant baptism isn't a doctrinal one, but a practical one- of course, should the child die before receiving the sacrament, you end up with a whole host of other problems which makes infant baptism preferable in that sense.

    Anyways, infant baptism seems implicitly stated in Scripture; the mentions of entire households being baptized is one point. Another, more interesting (in my opinion) point is the equation of baptism and circumcision.
     
  12. BibleHoarder

    BibleHoarder Active Member

    Posts:
    299
    Likes Received:
    105
    Country:
    USA
    Religion:
    Christian
    It doesn't really matter anymore as to my opinion on this matter. This phase for my interest in Anglicanism is coming to an end. I am not delving any further into this topic, as I don't want to cause friction in the community by any means over these subjects. Understand that I recognize you as Christian brethren, but I am already decided on where I belong and it is not in the Anglican communion. I enjoyed my time here, but that is that. Please do not contact me about any other inquiries.
     
  13. Lowly Layman

    Lowly Layman Well-Known Member Anglican

    Posts:
    2,021
    Likes Received:
    1,826
    Country:
    USA
    Religion:
    American Anglican
    Sorry to hear that, DJG. Debate and discussion is generally welcomed here.

    May God bless you and guide you to the spiritual home He has prepared for you.
     
  14. Aidan

    Aidan Well-Known Member

    Posts:
    953
    Likes Received:
    567
    Country:
    N Ireland
    Religion:
    Traditional RomanCatholic
    Sorry to see you go
     
  15. BibleHoarder

    BibleHoarder Active Member

    Posts:
    299
    Likes Received:
    105
    Country:
    USA
    Religion:
    Christian
    Since people wanted to know, I felt compelled to come back and explain this:

    My view of baptism is that without some identification of its meaning beyond the subjectiveness of the real presence mystery, we are unable to provide some kind of connection to it after taking it and experiencing the effects, so as to witness that it was baptism (and communion as well) that was part of our spiritual growth on some matter or another. Otherwise, it would be impossible to distinguish it from other spiritual growth in our life just based on following all the teachings and wisdom in the bible itself. Baptist doctrine does this in a more practical way than Roman or even Lutheran theology, and in my opinion does not really deny the real presence, in a sense. Why? I believe God uses symbolism in the bible to act as a bridge to our mind and soul, so of course his spirit can enjoin us through this kind of study or meditation. The real presence in itself is not entirely absurd. But I believe that provides a more practical explanation, at least in part, of the real presence mystery than transubstantiation or even consubstantiation which try to simply explain the method of how it is in there rather than what happens afterwards. No one actually can see what supposedly takes places during transubstantiation. And the alleged eucharist miracles often reported are not limited to people who believe in this doctrine.

    In terms of Anglicanism, I find it less offensive doctrinally that EO or RC. However, based on what I've studied, I am also getting tired of hearing about people speak of fidelity to the 39 articles, and yet seeing people who speak of scriptural authority or orthodoxy tolerating or being lax about Romanish practices like saints, Marian devotions, etc. and other things that I would feel wholly uncomfortable being accepted in a church that I would be attending.

    Also, poor availability of resources. Every website I find when trying to Google "Anglicanism" are mostly pages of Romanist propaganda boasting about the conversions of Anglicans and Lutherans to Romanism. Anglican resources online exist but are very poorly organized or lacking, and quite scarce. And virtually all the 'good' websites that have any association with Anglicanism are the heretical Episcopal Church. I find this quite embarrassing and laughable compared to the enormous outreach of evangelical protestantism. I am also tired of TEC being conflated with orthodox Anglicanism.

    I honestly don't know if I believe that we were really supposed to have a successionist episcopate in the sense that the RC, Anglicans. The idea of a rigid, institutionalized church existing in an age where it's a struggle to get people to even read the canonical scriptures that are widely available everywhere because of technology is a bit ludicrous. And honestly, I have read many arguments about the Church Fathers from Eastern, Roman and Anglican sources and am actually quite tired of it by now. Everyone has their own idea of it and can give you some very clever arguments about why they say this, and that, etc. and there are even problems in their consistency at times which is why their epistles were never canonized. I know the idea of infant baptism being practiced for so long seems like a strong argument that God wanted it to be. However, as I mentioned, there is no real loss or assurance of salvation in either paedobaptism or believer's baptism, as I understand it. Therefore, there was no real infringement on salvation issues, which might leave you asking why I question it, but it's the same reason as why I can believe people are still saved even if some die believing in errant theology, so long as it's not related to salvation. In terms of modern episcopacy, the idea of needing ordained priests and others to administer certain sacraments in some places were it would be difficult to find resources for say, communion or for priests/bishops themselves, seems very limiting and would choke the flexibility needed on some level for the evolution of the modern world. If you are living in a persecuted country, you likely wouldn't have time to do something like that, for instance, which is probably a more extreme example, but there are various other, maybe more trivial situations, that would hinder someones ability to attend these services or find people to help under an Anglican ordinance. In my city, there are only two Anglican churches that are traditional, and they are not very large. Every other church with attendance that is 'Anglican' is episcopal.

    If it's possible to interpret it this way. Saying: "The gates of hell will not prevail against my church" might not actually mean the extent to which advocates of apostolic succession claim it does. After all, I do recall in the old testament, Ezra I believe, read the Torah for the first time in 400 years after it had been forgotten. There period between Jesus and the Pharisees seems to suggest that pagan traditions infiltrated biblical Judaism, and the extra-biblical documentation for it during that time explaining some of these things in depth is rather vague. That did not mean there weren't people who still believed and followed what was essential and were saved, but they still had the yoke of those practices upon their neck, which could refute the idea that the lack of historical witness against something proves the majority.

    There's also the issue of whether or not everything had to be understood perfectly by the churches from the earliest years. Yes, the scriptures contain all the essentials but expositions take place over the years from frequent devotion and study. Also, you can say that the reformation period and after had issues, but it perhaps lead to some refinements. We understand that modern manuscripts of the bible which have been discovered correct some of our long-held beliefs about which are reliable and the like, and surely they had them long ago, but those were lost for a considerably long time and both the Vulgate and the Textus Receptus have been shown to contain some things in question. It makes you wonder about the scriptures saying: "Do not add or take away". Of course, Roman Catholics can use this as an argument for developments in doctrine, but Protestants can say their developments are a point of restoration and refinement back to orthodoxy, which is strictly scriptural and not based on adding or taking away, as much as was possible, at least.

    Let me also just end on a note that, with the example given earlier, I honestly feel the episcopate in its most formal sense was a product of its time and meant to be more dynamic, so long as it did not accept many of the teachings found today in the Episcopal Church. The overly formal, traditional catholic denominations are hemorraging members and not necessarily because of heresy. Many evangelical churches teach traditional christianity and have many Godly people doing amazing outreach. Whenever someone who leaves their nominal upbringing of EO or RC loses faith and comes back, it's more often to an evangelical protestant church, and most attempts to 'evangelize' by RCs that I've seen seem like jealous, poor imitation mockeries of what the evangelical church has accomplished in the last few centuries. I had a few posts in some other threads regarding my universally negative experiences with RC apologists in person.
     
    Last edited: Dec 16, 2017
  16. BibleHoarder

    BibleHoarder Active Member

    Posts:
    299
    Likes Received:
    105
    Country:
    USA
    Religion:
    Christian
    I also want to know: the problem that Anglicans claim not to teach anything that isn't taught by the written word, yet infant baptism, which is only vaguely implied by the household reference, is advocated on the basis of extra-biblical tradition which makes me really uncomfortable. Yes, I understand tradition helps us get a consensus of some things, but I am really disturbed by this. The real presence is another one that I am skeptical of too, but not nearly as much as infant baptism. This is a hurdle that keeps me from becoming Anglican, even though I understand the concept of infant baptism from their perspective. In the New Testament, Jesus gets a child dedication, and then is baptised to fulfill the ordinances of his Father, but aside from that the concept of godparent dedication and the ritual is not outlined either in the Didache or the New Testament as it is in Anglicanism.
     
  17. Botolph

    Botolph Well-Known Member

    Posts:
    728
    Likes Received:
    926
    Country:
    Australia
    Religion:
    Anglican
    OK. I respect everything you have said. But I am left with some issues for myself.
    • But Jesus called for them and said, ‘Let the little children come to me, and do not stop them; for it is to such as these that the kingdom of God belongs. Truly I tell you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God as a little child will never enter it.’ (Luke 18:16-17)
    • But now that faith has come, we are no longer subject to a disciplinarian, for in Christ Jesus you are all children of God through faith. As many of you as were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. (Galatians 3:25-27)
    I think Anglicans teach that nothing can be required of one to be believed as necessary for salvation that cannot be shown in Holy Scripture. I would be happy to accept that the Biblical Warrant for Infant Baptism is loose, but not that it is not present, and that accompanied by the continuing tradition of the Church for the most part of the 2ooo year history of it, this informs our understanding of Scripture. I wonder if it isn't in part the deliberations of a post modern world that constructs salvation os an intellectual exercise that calls it most into question. We are not saved by purity of doctrine, (though clearly we should aspire to it), but by the arms reach out wide upon the cross for the redemption of all humanity.

    I wish you peace on the journey of discovery
     
  18. Stalwart

    Stalwart Well-Known Member Anglican

    Posts:
    907
    Likes Received:
    734
    Country:
    America
    Religion:
    Anglican
    The primary argument Anglicans give is:
    Is baptism something you "do"? Or is it something that is done unto you? We believe the latter, and Scripture teaches it. Godparents are merely an expedient to conduct the liturgy of responses with someone who can't respond yet (and the raising up in the Lord thereafter).
     
    Shane R likes this.
  19. BibleHoarder

    BibleHoarder Active Member

    Posts:
    299
    Likes Received:
    105
    Country:
    USA
    Religion:
    Christian
    The way I understand it, that simply means to come into understanding through childlike trust and humility, not a mind polluted with humanistic rationalism and reason to try and comprehend everything spiritual that is too mysterious to understand. People can say some of the logic of Christianity is 'irrational' on these terms. For instance, people say that God doesn't want us to be mindless robots, so he gave us free will to reject or accept him, yet if we are eternally secure in heaven (which should be the case, after all we have to go to get there) we won't have this freedom and yet God will still not mind loving us in that state, but why in that case didn't he just create us like that to begin with instead of allowing us to go through all this drama? But if a person trusts in the word and the teachings of Jesus to experience the influence and power of the holy spirit, they may know there is more to all this even if we can't explain everything, so we just obey and feel its work in our lives. That's all we can do, and it's mostly the humble that succeed in doing that the best, not academic philosophical humanist zealots.
     
    Botolph likes this.
  20. Vincent J. Coppola

    Vincent J. Coppola New Member

    Posts:
    8
    Likes Received:
    8
    Country:
    USA
    Religion:
    Anglican
    The best account I've found of the Anglican view of baptism is in Bishop Rodgers commentary on The 39 Articles: "Essential Truths For Christians". If you cannot get hold of copy I can send you a summary I prepared some time ago of what he has to say about the article on baptism. I've read through the concerns you have expressed about this and I think you will find Bishop Rodgers' scripturally based explanations very much to your liking.
     

Share This Page